“I didn’t hit you, I gave you five on your face.”
-my youngest child
Bending the truth is nothing new. My toddler came up with this one all on her own. Why? Because the description generally fit the truth, but framed it less offensively. It’s no different than what we all do–or are tempted to do–on a regular basis. We know the basic rule of a double agent: The closer we stay to the truth, the easier it is to lie.
We know how to do it, but can we spot a fraud? I think there’s an easy way we can learn to discern.
I recently read about a new devotional that claims to unveil the “way of Yesuah” that has been “forgotten” for 2,000 years. It makes claims about an “elephant in the room” of Christians that we don’t experience the realities of the Christian life that we tell everyone we believe in. Namely, peace and joy.
Okay, that’s a good concern. I have an issue with the claim that this devotional–or series of “meditations”–will unveil Jesus’ Way that has been lost for 2,000 years. Am I going out on a limb to guess that the author hasn’t been alive for more than 50 years, give or take? Could he seriously opine on whether this earth-shattering insight he has was really lost for 2,000 years?
Is he aware that the Bible has been around for most of that time?
Okay. I’m getting ahead of myself.
Assuming that the first part is crass marketing … let’s dive into some of the claims.
As I said, a good false doctrine will stay very close to the truth.
The advertisement and the video trailers claim that Christians have become lost in their lives, forgetting who they are … and they need to wake up!
A bit dramatic for my taste. A bit vague, too. I’d ask, “What do you mean, lost? or forgotten who we are?”
The writer goes on to say that Christians need to wake up to who we already are. Our identity is in Christ!
Unfortunately, that’s where the truth ends. At least in the promo videos and the content I’ve seen so far.
The writer declares that we need to realize that WE ARE THE LIGHT! And that we need to learn to LOVE OURSELVES!
He couches these things in with solid Biblical principles, but it’s the twist, the framing that is problematic.
You Are The Light
The Bible says that Jesus is the Light of the World (John 8:12). And He is the life, and the life is the light of men (John 1:4). There is also the passage that says “You are the light of the world” (Matt. 5:14). And then there’s the passage describing John the Baptist that says he was not the light, but testified of the light (John 1:8).
So, the statement that WE ARE THE LIGHT is true … kind of. We are not the light, but we should shine the light of a life filled with the Holy Spirit. It’s important to note that Jesus was talking to the Jews before the Holy Spirit was given at Pentecost. He likened them as lights to a city on a hill or a candle on a stand. The chosen people of God–at that point–were the people of Israel!
Today, the true Israel is made up of every true believer in the Lord Jesus Christ. Our lives are to be lights to the world so that as they persecute us, they will see our good deeds and ultimately give glory to God.
But we are not THE LIGHT any more than John the Baptist was THE LIGHT.
Pagans teach of being luminous beings (you probably can hear Yoda saying that in one of the Star Wars movies).
Love [Your Neighbor As] Yourself
Take away what rests between those brackets and you have paganism. Whitney Houston, I believe, sang about the greatest love … which ended in loving yourself (instead of giving your life for your friends).
There’s nothing the world wants to hear more than Jesus telling them to love themselves. Much to their dismay, Jesus never said that. And there’s a world of difference between loving yourself and loving your neighbor as yourself.
What’s The Easy Test?
So, when you see stuff come from prominent Christian writers, what is this test? My test? Go to the Bible and compare what they’re saying to what it says.
Contrary to this prominent Christian writer, Jesus’ teaching hasn’t been lost or forgotten for 2,000 years. It’s all there in the Bible. Perhaps popular ‘Christianity’ has forgotten that the Bible is God’s word.
What do you think? Is this writer correct about us being the light? Do you feel close enough is good enough? Let me know in the comments below.